The American College of Surgeons (ACS) Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Task Force was established in 2018 with the goal of providing resources that respond to the needs of ACS members and colleagues who are experiencing IPV. The task force is inclusive of all members of the surgical community, regardless of years of training or practice, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, socioeconomic status, culture, religion, race, or ethnicity. The task force offers support and understanding to individuals who are presented with life choices and challenges without clear solutions, including those health care professionals who remain in difficult situations.
The ACS IPV Task Force aims to raise awareness of the incidence of IPV in the surgical community, educate surgeons to recognize the signs and consequences of IPV in themselves and their colleagues, provide resources for survivors, and create resources and curricula to instruct surgeons about how to recognize IPV in colleagues and trainees.
ACS IPV Toolkit
The ACS Intimate Partner Violence Toolkit for ACS members includes information on the risks of IPV and how to recognize IPV in your colleagues, patients, and yourself. Additionally, it includes information on how to determine if one is in danger, including a risk assessment, development of a safety plan, and information to learn more about state IPV laws and how to get help.
The ACS Intimate Partner Violence Toolkit for ACS members includes information on the risks of IPV and how to recognize IPV in your colleagues, patients, and yourself.
IPV: Diagnosing the “hush-hush” American epidemic in the trauma bay
The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania division of trauma and surgical critical care researched and developed a presentation for use at grand rounds and in other venues to share information about identifying and diagnosing IPV. It reviews important information on the prevalence of IPV; physical signs and symptoms to observe during a physical exam; demographics of potential IPV survivors, including age, relationship status, emergency room admittance time, finances, substance use, and living situation; and considerations and skills to use when interviewing and screening a patient for IPV.
National organizations and hotlines
On an average day, domestic violence hotlines in the U.S. receive more than 20,000 calls. Nationally, IPV accounts for 15 percent of all violent crimes. On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the U.S. Annually, this equals more than 10 million women and men.*
The ACS is committed to the health, well-being, and safety of surgeons and the health care community. If you are experiencing IPV, the ACS encourages you to use the resources of national organizations and hotlines to aid in the maintenance of your physical, mental, and emotional health. Remember, you are not alone. For a list of national organizations and hotlines, visit this ACS web page.
One key resource is the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), which has a website that provides contact information and tool kits. The website has a COVID-19- specific section for individuals who feel particularly isolated and at risk during the coronavirus 2019 quarantine.
NNEDV features toolkits for IPV survivors on financial abuse, domestic violence, human immunodeficiency virus/ acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, and tech safety and privacy. It also provides legal information, such as state laws on restraining orders and firearm restrictions, through WomensLaw.
If you are experiencing IPV, the ACS encourages you to use the resources of national organizations and hotlines to aid in the maintenance of your physical, mental, and emotional health. Remember, you are not alone.
In addition to toolkits and legal information, NNEDV builds “cross-sector collaborations at the state, national, and international levels to change the way society addresses and works to prevent domestic violence” and to “address the complex causes and far-reaching consequences of domestic violence,” as stated on the website. NNEDV projects focus on annual census counts of individuals experiencing IPV, provide technical assistance and training to coalitions to best address needs at all levels, implement the U.S. Violence Against Women Act, and provide training and development for programs across the country working with IPV survivors.
The ACS IPV Task Force encourages College members to use these resources if they are experiencing domestic violence or believe their colleagues or patients are at risk.
*The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Statistics. Available at: https:// ncadv.org/statistics. Accessed August 24, 2020.